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Community Action Zones

Tackling social isolation and loneliness is high on Essex Partners' agenda, using community action research and social innovation Essex Partners worked with the Uttlesford Health and Wellbeing Board and the Young Foundation, to deliver the Community Action Zone project, to understand how together we can deliver better outcomes for people living within the local community.

During June-December 2017, focussing on three very different areas in the Uttlesford district; Little Bardfield, Saffron Walden and Takeley and Little Canfield, the Community Action Zone project took a strengths-based approach to promoting community-led social action to tackle social isolation and loneliness: listening and observing through ethnographic research, dialogue and reflection through community events, and co-creating new approaches led by residents themselves.

This work has led to new insights in to the nature of people’s social connections, how they feel about the communities they live in, and the extent to which social isolation and loneliness affects their daily lives.

Our key findings show:

  • How growth and change inform peoples’ feelings about their community
  • How social isolation and loneliness affect certain demographics in particular, including young people, the elderly, and those less mobile
  • The importance of narrative when exploring understanding of people and place.

A report detailing the research findings and recommendations is available via this link.